The UK’s updated Net Zero strategy: another missed opportunity we can’t afford

The UK Government’s updated Net Zero plan is another missed opportunity to take meaningful action to tackle the climate emergency.

The strategy ties the UK’s net zero targets to Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), a technology currently unworkable at scale.

Changeworks calls on the Government to support improved energy efficiency measures and for the electrification of heat, rather than an over-reliance on CCS.

Earlier in March, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a “final warning” on the danger of climate breakdown.

The UN secretary general, António Guterres, said: “Our world needs climate action on all fronts: everything, everywhere, all at once.”

The IPCC’s report called for urgent action, as emissions will need to be cut by almost half by 2030 if warming is to be limited to 1.5°C. However, the UK’s net zero target is 2050, and is coupled with a lack of urgency in policy to enable the operating environment to accelerate decarbonisation.

“We need to reduce energy demand through insulation of buildings and invest in the electrification of heat.”

Changeworks is concerned that the government’s future energy strategy focuses on CCS, which involves capturing the carbon emitted from burning fossil fuels and storing it underground.

Whilst CCS may be one of many necessary methods for decarbonisation, branding it a panacea is ill-advised. Time is of the essence, and CCS is a technology that doesn’t yet work at scale. It’s also likely that this unfounded faith in its viability will be used as justification for developing new gas and oil fields.

Changeworks’ Chief Executive, Josiah Lockhart said: “We need to reduce energy demand through insulation of buildings and invest in the electrification of heat.

“These methods are currently already being deployed to decarbonise the UK, helping to alleviate fuel poverty in the process. The government has yet again missed an opportunity to bolster and expand these twin necessities.” 

Changeworks calls on the UK Government to rethink their strategy, to respond to the climate crisis with the seriousness it demands.

Are you struggling to pay energy bills?

Find out who you need to contact to get help.